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Beijing’s new ‘Look West’ policy to give primacy to India

Ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership change in China, strategists here are scripting a new “Look West” policy, giving primacy to ties with India while rebalancing Beijing’s decades-old pro-Pakistan tilt to counter American influence.

world Updated: Nov 02, 2012 02:38 IST

Ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership change in China, strategists here are scripting a new “Look West” policy, giving primacy to ties with India while rebalancing Beijing’s decades-old pro-Pakistan tilt to counter American influence.

“The Americans are looking towards East and we look towards the West,” professor Wang Jisi, a widely respected Chinese strategist who worked closely with Chinese leaders including outgoing President Hu Jintao to reset the badly ruptured relations with India after 1962 conflict, told PTI, giving a rare insight into the thinking among the leadership.

By West, Wang means the West of China, starting from India, the sprawling South and West Asia and beyond.

"China ignored the West for long and it is time for rebalance not only for oil, natural gas but also very big economic http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/11/02-11-12-pg-18a.jpgopportunities," he said, quoting recent studies that China’s trade with India and rest of Asia grew seven times faster than Beijing’s trade growth in recent years.

Wang is an influential member of China’s Foreign Policy Advisory Committee.

Significantly, as China looks to reset its ties with India, he said Beijing’s “all weather” relations with Pakistan were no longer driven by the factor to contain New Delhi, but to prevent the Islamic militancy in Muslim-majority Xinjiang, bordering PoK.

“We have to fend off extreme Islamic terrorism from getting into China from Pakistan and we need Pakistan more like an all-weather ally. It is useful and significant in our strategic thinking. Some people may say this but I doubt that,” he said.

“Pakistan is increasingly getting weak. Its GDP is much less than that of India. I am sad about it. I do not have any ill feeling about India but I have good feelings about Pakistan as almost everybody there loves China. That is a special place,” he said.